Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of Serbia Rasim Ljajic has said that the CEFTA from 2006 has been jeopardized with the implementation of 100% fees on Serbian goods in Kosovo and that it needs to be recovered to survive.
– If the CEFTA couldn't stop this, the existence of that free trade agreement is under question – Ljajic stated for today's Politika.
According to him, Serbia loses around EUR 1 million each day due to not being able to export its goods to Kosovo.
The minister said that the forming of “some kind of CEFTA plus” was possible, but that no agreement could be truly effective without the EU's support.
– The EU needs to be more involved. All issues need to be considered, obstacles to trade should be removed, certificates should be harmonized and market forces should be liberalized – he said.
Ljajic said that the waiting time at border crossings was around 11 hours, which, according to him, is a loss of 30 million hours.
– We have managed to solve the contentious issues with North Macedonia and we've solved nine out of thirteen with Bosnia and Herzegovina – the minister said.
The total trade of Serbia with the CEFTA, consisting of Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova and Albania, reached EUR 4.2 billion last year, Politika reports.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is Serbia's biggest partner, followed by Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Last year, Serbia exported goods worth EUR 419 million to Kosovo.